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Goodbyes, Hellos, & the Time In Between



Mind you, I quite like hope. Hope’s a good emotion. And here it comes.     ~  Doctor Who

I will start with the big news!  Kelly and I found out last week that our visas were approved.  Additionally, we have tickets to fly to Prague (not just for another short-term trip!)  We are really moving to Prague this time, and are flying out on January 11th.

Actually, we booked the tickets before hearing about our visas.  We were trusting and hoping that they would arrive in time, and if not or if they had been denied, we were going to investigate other options while there.  So, this really is a best-case scenario ending to a long saga.

Since I started telling people, I have been asked if I am feeling excited, relieved, anxious to get back, or sad to leave everyone here.  The answer is yes!  I cycle through each of those emotions at least once every day.  This is in the midst of working through my “to-do lists,” which seems to be growing daily.  There are so many details to take care of on this end, as well to arrange on that end.  However, in spite of it all, I predominantly feel thankful – for the grace of God and for the prayers and support of others to be able to go!

One of Many Sweet Goodbyes

I returned to Tenn for a couple of weeks to gather up the rest of my things there, take care of some paperwork with World Missions, and say goodbye to my friends and home church.  In all of my coming and going, I learned the importance of closure.  The goodbyes are not easy, but closing well has everything to do with beginning well.  

It also has everything to do with coffee.  Apparently.  I started averaging about four cups of espresso drinks a day since coffee shops are easy meeting points and you can stay a long time to talk.  Of course, there are no complaints here!  I consider it training for my transition back to Europe!

Not the First Cup That Day

I drove back to Ky with a full heart and a full car.  This means I was home just in time for another Christmas with my family.  My grandfather is still very ill, but circumstances worked out for my parents to bring him home for the holidays.  My brothers, their wives, and my nieces and nephew all came the day after Christmas.

Much of what we do revolves around food and time spent in the kitchen.  We have a new tradition of “appetizer night” – where each of us makes a different finger-food instead of a typical Christmas dinner.

My Brother's Wonton Making Skills

While we mostly stay together at home, there were a few key outings.  For example, the Hatfield & McCoy Recreational Center Bowling Alley.

If you can break 3 digits, you are basically a master among the Evans clan.

Of course, this morning brought more goodbyes when my siblings and their families headed back home.  I know it will at least be another year before I see them and the kids will be so much bigger by then.  When asked what is the hardest thing about being a missionary – I always say that it is that you can only be on one side of the world at once – and life goes on without you on the other side.  People change, grow, get married, and have all sorts of important life-changing events while you are not there.

It redefines relationships for you and you learn to grasp even tighter to those that can transcend time and distance and change.  I am so so blessed to have many of those in my life!

Drove from MI to Send Me Off!

That brings me to the “Hellos.”  All of those aforementioned relationships are not just on this side of the Atlantic.  I have so many dear friends, who are like family, waiting for me in Prague.  As one of them said, “perhaps the welcoming hellos on this end will balance out your sad goodbyes.”  I am so looking forward to sharing the day-to-day in life with them again!

 And, in closing on this topic, I would be remiss to not mention that the Czech Republic has had its own fill of loss and grief in the past two weeks.  The entire nation said goodbye to its beloved leader and national hero – Vaclav Havel.  He fought for democracy non-violently by using the power of words, the power of the arts, and the power of hope.  He was an inspiration to the world and I grieve with the Czechs as I pray that his legacy continues.

Wenceslas Square in Remembrance of Havel (www.lukasbiba.com)

“The [Communist] past has left us spiritually impoverished,” he declared in pledging as president to focus on “the ethical, moral aspects of society, on creating space for dialogue, agreement and tolerance.”  As a dissident leader, Havel promoted the slogan,

“May truth and love triumph over lies and hatred.” 

Amen, Mr. Havel.  Amen.



The BEST holidays

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